The Ministry of Defence is to close its prestigious unit at Peterborough City Hospital leaving health chiefs with £550,000 headache.
The move by defence chiefs comes after a review of its bases and will see it withdraw 140 military personnel from the Bretton-based hospital.
A hospital spokesman said the MoD’s decision to end its contract would mean a cost to the Peterborough and Stamford NHS Trust of £550,000.
That is made up of a loss of £200,000 on accommodation costs while to replace the military staff - equivalent to 30 full-time roles - would cost £350,000.
A hospital spokesman said: “The military consultants will see out their individual contracts, however all other military personnel – such as healthcare assistants, nurses and allied health professionals – will be redeployed to other Ministry of Department Hospital Units (MDHU) within the UK in the near future. As Peterborough is not a Level 1 trauma centre, the trust cannot offer military personnel the same level of training as other trusts with higher trauma status.
“The trust will work with the MoD to plan ahead for departure dates of personnel in order to minimise disruption to staffing rotas.
Dr Peter Reading, the trust’s interim chief executive, said: “I am disappointed but I understand the reason behind it.
“I am sure this news will come as a blow to our staff and patients alike, as the calibre of personnel provided by the MDHU has been consistently excellent and we have enjoyed good working relationships with the military staff.”
Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said: “I’m disappointed at the end of a very strong and enduring relationship between the armed forces and our local health services.
“I’ll be raising the matter with the trust and ministers if necessary to ensure that clinical care and budgets are not compromised.”
It comes as the hospital is poised to hold two recruitment days to take on extra 50 experienced nurses.
The hospital currently employs 1,165 nurses and midwives but replies heavily on expensive agency staff to fill staffing gaps as they occur.
A hospital spokesman said: “We pay a lot of money annually on agency staff.
“We can reduce that cost by taking on additional 50 experienced nurses to work for us permanently.”
Figures supplied by the Peterborough and Stamford NHS Trust show that from January to December last year, it spent £2,097,832 on agency nurses.
They also show that hiring 50 trained nurses would cost £1,807,384.62 a year compared to £3,344,647.56 for the same number of agency staff.
The trust will hold two recruitment events on Thursday from 9.30am to 5pm and December 9 from 4pm to 6pm.